As with any ambitious project, the Canadian Premier League’s road from being an abstract fantasy to a legitimate, flesh-and-blood enterprise has been lined with skeptics.
Sure, healthy skepticism is good. It helps to keep things in perspective and mitigate potential problems. Even those who’ve yearned most desperately for Canada to once again have a top-flight pro league have carried plenty of questions for the past several years.
But as we navigate the CPL’s opening week, most of those questions have been answered. Many of the one-time skeptics have already settled into their custom-made seats on the bandwagon.
Yet, as waves of soccer fans nationwide become suddenly aware of the CPL’s existence, the skepticism cycle has begun anew. So, for your convenience, here’s a go-to guide on what to tell friends and family members who haven’t yet wrapped their heads around what this league is all about.
I just heard about the CPL; did it pop up overnight?
The league’s foundations were laid almost a decade ago, when the Canadian Soccer Association commissioned the Easton Report, a study into the viability of a new national men’s league.
Around the same time, a group of potential league investors began coalescing behind the scenes.
Isn’t there enough soccer? What’s the point of launching the CPL now?
It’s the same reason MLS was launched in the 1990s: the only way to have a consistently competitive national team is to have a thriving domestic league.
And with Canada set to co-host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, there’s no time like the present to have the men’s national team firing on all cylinders.
But we have that Alphonso Davies kid now; aren’t we already kinda good?
We do, and we are. But, without jinxing anything, suffice to say that depth charts can change in a hurry. Even if the current crop of young talent looks pretty good right now, a national team is only ever a few injuries or slumps away from a radically altered landscape.
That’s where the CPL comes in: the more Canadians there are playing regularly in a top-flight league, the healthier and more resilient our national team’s player pool will ultimately be, year after year.
And another thing…
Maybe you care a little bit about the thousands upon thousands of Canadian kids who’ve now got the chance to grow up playing for their local youth club, training at a local academy and breaking into the professional game right here on Canadian soil.
All the changes of the past decade—on the grassroots side, all the way up to the formation of the CPL—have formed the “missing link” that previously separated a wildly popular kids’ sport from the realities of the professional game.
And that’s to say nothing of the Canadian coaches, referees, trainers and other folks who now have the opportunity to pursue their soccer careers right here at home.
Why should I watch?
Because the CPL is, at the end of the day, yours.
Soccer support isn’t an either/or proposition. Wanna keep supporting some big European club from afar? Go for it! Heading to the pub with like-minded people to watch a game on TV is an experience that can’t be replicated.
But neither can the feeling of heading to the stadium with like-minded people to watch your hometown heroes play the beautiful game up close, in a competition with big-time local stakes.
It’s a sensation that soccer fans in virtually every other country on Earth already get to enjoy on a monthly and yearly basis—now, finally, Canadians have an invite to the party. Are you in?